Travellers refuse to pay increased rent at Hainault caravan site

�Residents of the borough’s only council-owned caravan site say they will refuse to pay a massive rent hike of 18 per cent.

Travellers living at Northview caravan site, in Forest Road, Hainault, will have to pay �12.13 per month more for each plot from April 1, taking their weekly rent to �79.53 per week, or �4,136 per year.

The average rent for a council home in Redbridge is �89.25 per week.

Councillors approved the 18 per cent increase at the budget meeting on Thursday, saying that it was needed to finance work that had been carried out at the 12-plot site in 2004 - 2006.

Resident Betty Eastwood, 50, said: “People here won’t pay unless they make some serious improvements to the site.

“The buildings they built in 2004 are tiny, and they left the place in a complete mess – just mud everywhere.”

Another female resident said: “People won’t pay the increased rent. Other sites are much better.

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“My little grandson has hurt himself playing outside because the concrete is in such a state and I don’t even have a lid for my dustbin.”

At Hop Gardens caravan site, in nearby Epping Forest, Essex County Council charges a rent of �50 per week.

Resident warden Jim Eastwood, who has lived at Northview for 45 years, said: “People are obviously not very happy about it. But they will have to pay their rent or they will be out.”

Leader of Redbridge Council, Cllr Keith Prince, said: “This increase reflects the investment we have made at the site, which now has some wonderful facilities.

A council spokesman said: “The works were agreed in consultation with residents at the time they were built and they were very pleased with them.

“As part of the operating costs, the Council pays for a site warden who lives at the site and is responsible for a range of duties including keeping the site clean and tidy, minor repairs, security and daily checks on the day rooms and to feed back any concerns from residents.

She added: “To date, we have received no complaints from residents about the site via the warden. Minor repairs, such as resurfacing patches of land have taken place where necessary.”

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